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Ecuador: strong signals of bamboo support

News
17Jul

Ecuador’s latest guide for bamboo signals a major policy change, and includes substantial input from INBAR

In June 2017, Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture published a new “Technical Guide for Management, Harvesting and Elaboration of Cutting Programes of Caña Guadúa and Bambú Gigante”. This is a major policy change, and shows the impact of INBAR’s work over a number of years.

The Technical Guide is the first of its kind to discuss the sustainable management of bamboo forest and plantation in Ecuador. It provides clear advice for farmers on how to sustainably harvest and manage bamboo, as well as different technical criteria for the products which can be made, and advice for local officials who help review, approve and control this bamboo use. Aimed at forest landholders, forest communities and farmers, this guide recognises bamboo as a viable means to generate economic income, and as a strategic resource for the country.

Dendrocalamus asper and Guadua angustifolia – the two species mentioned in the guide – are two of the most common commercial species of bamboo which grow in Ecuador.  The country has over 15,000 hectares of bamboo, and 600,000 people are directly involved in the bamboo sector.

This announcement is the result of long-running efforts by INBAR’s LAC office. INBAR has advised technicians belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture on how to strengthen the guide; in addition, INBAR has provided substantial support to the Rio 7 farmer’s association, one of the major sources of inspiration for the policy guide.

The Technical Guide is closely linked to the recent “Ecuadorian National Standard for construction with Caña Guadua”, in which Ecuador endorses the use of bamboo as a safe construction material. Together, these two documents show a growing government support for bamboo. INBAR hopes this support will help stimulate the growth and maturation of the Ecuadorian bamboo sector, and encourage better farming and harvesting of this precious resource.

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